If You Can’t Cheer For Ray Rice, How Can You Cheer For Brandon Marshall?



We have established all domestic violence is bad. Doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman, you shouldn’t be hitting anyone. But, something has been bothering me, and I really would like to know the answer to the questions that I have.

This isn’t about Ray Rice and Brandon Marshall, this is about us and our selective memory on who we decide to cheer and who we decide to vilify. Ray Rice has been cheered heavily by Ravens fans and it has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Just look at the tweets.



That was just a tip of the iceberg and some of the more PG Tweets. Before I continue, let me point out I am not saying these opinions aren’t valid. I can totally understand why it would bother people that someone who is on video dragging his wife out of elevator after KOing her would be cheered like he was the victim. If people want to hold this against Ray Rice for the rest of his life they are entitled to, but my question essentially is, do they hold the same standard to others?

I used Brandon Marshall, but I could have easily used Ben Roethlisberger, Greg Hardy, and others. Marshall is interesting to me because his rap sheet is long, violent and one of the women involved ended up marrying him (just like Ray Rice). How long you ask? Just take a look at this timeline from the Chicago Tribune.

Oct. 31, 2004: During his junior year at Central Florida, Marshall was arrested at a Denny’s restaurant in Orlando, Fla., on charges of assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct, trespass and resisting arrest without violence and refusal to obey. The charges were dismissed.

April 8, 2005: Marshall was charged with retail theft, a misdemeanor, after trying to return a stolen set of bed sheets, valued at $19.99, to a Burlington Coat Factory. The charge was dropped.

June 17, 2006: Marshall and longtime girlfriend Rasheedah Watley both filed police reports alleging physical abuse by the other in a long altercation at an Orlando apartment. No arrests or charges were made.

Jan. 1, 2007: Marshall was at the Denver nightclub Shelter with Broncos teammates Javon Walker and Darrent Williams, attending a birthday party for Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin. As the group left the club in a limousine, Williams was shot fatally in the neck by an unknown assailant. Walker later said the shooter was likely another man at the nightclub who was seeking retaliation after an altercation with Marshall’s cousin that evening. Marshall testified at the trial of gunman Willie Clark that he helped escalate the dispute that led to Williams’ death.

Jan. 24, 2007: According to the Denver Post, police interviewed Marshall and his father after an argument in an Orlando parking lot. Marshall claimed his father tried to hit him with his car. His father claimed Marshall had fired a gun. Both men declined to press charges.

March 18, 2007: In Atlanta, Watley told police Marshall punched her and took her purse while in a hotel. Marshall was gone before police arrived. No charges were filed.

March 21, 2007: According to the Denver Post, police in Palm Beach County, Fla., interviewed Marshall and Watley twice in the same night after two loud arguments. Both said the disturbances were not physical in nature. No arrests or charges were made.

March 26, 2007: Marshall was arrested in a Denver suburb on suspicion of domestic violence. Watley reported Marshall prevented a taxi she was in from leaving his house. Marshall completed anger management counseling and the charges were dropped two months later.

June 8, 2007: According to the Denver Post, two incident reports were filed by Atlanta police. A friend of Watley’s claimed Marshall hit her car and then threw a rock at the passenger door as Watley was riding in the passenger seat. Watley also told police Marshall cut her in the thigh and punched her in the face. She was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. Marshall was not present when police arrived. No charges were filed.

June 30, 2007: According to the Denver Post, Watley told Atlanta police Marshall punched and choked her at his condo. She had a bruise and scratches. Marshall was not present when police arrived. No charges were filed.

Oct. 22, 2007: Marshall was arrested in Denver and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. He was pulled over driving the wrong way on a one-way street hours after a game. He later pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of driving while ability-impaired and was sentenced to one year of probation and 24 hours of community service.

March 6, 2008: Marshall was arrested on charges of misdemeanor battery in Atlanta after a dispute with Watley. She told police he punched her in the mouth and eye. Marshall said he cut his hand on glass.

Aug. 6, 2008: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Marshall for three games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. The suspension was reduced to one regular-season game and a fine of an additional game check, costing him $52,353.

March 1, 2009: Marshall was arrested in Atlanta on disorderly conduct charges after allegedly being involved in a dispute with then-fiancee, Michi Nogami-Campbell, now his wife. Charges were dropped the next day.

April 23, 2011: Marshall was taken to Broward General Medical Center after Nogami-Campbell stabbed him in the abdomen at their Florida home. Nogami-Campbell told police she stabbed Marshall “out of self-defense.”

March 15th, 2012: Marshall is accused by a 24-year-old woman of punching her in the eye, leaving a black eye, in an altercation outside a club in New York. Marshall’s attorney says it was Marshall’s wife that was injured and says the couple are the true victims in the case.


Total amount of games Marshall was suspended by NFL……….


Marshall, to his credit, has appeared to turn around his life. But using the standard that is being held against Ray Rice, you make one mistake it should be held over you for the rest of your life.

Marshall has 15+ incidents and several domestic violence accusations.  Being falsely accused happens from time to time, but it is unlikely that when you have been accused several times by several different people men and women that there isn’t some truth to it.  If you are one of those individuals that holds everyone with a domestic violence past to the same standard, these questions aren’t for you. Thank you for being consistent and not hypocritical in your thoughts.

But for those who won’t make a sound when Greg Hardy, Dez Bryant, Will Smith, Phillip Merling, Big Ben and others (look at all the players arrested for Domestic Violence over the years) when they are cheered, my question is, what’s the difference?  If Ray Rice says he has a mental disability will you forgive him then?

People are visual and it is hard to ignore the visual of Rice dragging his wife out of an elevator, but simply put, Rice is no different than 100s of other NFL players who have been charged with a crime, made a plea deal, or had charges drop, and yet are cheered wildly every Sunday.

I have a theory on this.  Marshall’s issues happened a little bit before social media took over the world.  If his transgressions happened in 2014 and not 2007, I think he would be looked at differently.  Frankly, maybe in 2018, Ray Rice will be looked at differently if he stays on the straight and narrow.  Social media, and Twitter specifically, are filled with followers, both figuratively and literally.  There is a mob mentality that if you don’t go with the majority you will be swallowed up and bashed for being an independent thinker.

Don’t believe me?

Go on Twitter and say the following.

“I think Michael Sam is getting preferential treatment because he is gay.”

Nothing wrong with that statement, just an opinion that can totally be justified with some reasonable facts. But I guarantee you one of the first responses you get back are that you are a homophobe.  Stephen A. Smith was suspended not because what he was trying to say didn’t have validity—if you hit someone, you can’t be shocked if they hit you back—but because he didn’t articulate it in the proper way and once the masses had turned on him, ESPN had no choice.

Am I defending Ray Rice’s actions? Absolutely not, regardless of what happened before the punch, his life wasn’t in danger and he should have walked away.  The NFL should have tougher mandatory punishments for those who are domestic abusers. No, my issue is about hypocrisy with fans and media.

Don’t bury Ray Rice and conveniently forget that Dez Bryant slapped his mother.  I am not a hypocrite…no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes.  Brandon Marshall, Big Ben, Ray Rice, Ray Lewis and etc have made mistakes.  I am not going to hold it against them forever, they have to live with what they have done and try to do better going forward.  I am not going to pick and choose who to judge.

Next time you are upset at how Ray Rice is being treated, who is wearing his jersey and how sick it makes you, be sure you remember how you treated or covered the several 100 athletes who have had domestic and violent issues in the past.

Don’t be a hypocrite.


  1. I love this article! You, along with me, are unfortunately in the minority among fans of all sports with this opinion. Too many fans pick and choose what players they want to judge negatively. The media also plays a huge part in guiding people’s perceptions. For example, they make Ray Lewis look like a hero despite all of the wrong things he has been involved with in the past and thus, most NFL fans view him in a positive light. People need to be consistent with how they evaluate all athletes.

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